Friday, 26 July 2013

Thorpster's Ashes Nostalgia

Thorpster is back with a bang and here our bud looks back on the last time the Aussies were such a poor side back in the eighties. He talks Berni Inns, Trevor Brooking, Prawn Cocktail and Graham Yallop in this look back at how cricket was thirty years ago.

Old Trafford with the footballing namesake in the background

The Ashes are usually good for a bit of nostalgia and as early indications are that this one might not be too close, I'm even finding myself hoping for a convict comeback to make things more interesting. Like Strasbourg’s European Court of Human Rights saying whole life tariffs take away all hope and dignity, another bashing, this time in Manc Land, would remove all hope from the visiting side. Still to give Shane Watson some credit, there's still more chance of Jeremy Bamber accepting a decision than the obstinate Australian all-rounder. 

In fact there is more chance of Arsene Wenger spending some of Arsenal's eurozone bail-out fund.  I hear when it was announced that baby Cambridge weighed in at 8 LB 6,Wenger lodged a bid with the Palace of 6 LB 4. Maybe calling Watto an all-rounder is somewhat generous in cricketing terms. He is an all-rounder more in the David Capel mould than Ian Botham, good for 30 runs and 2 wickets. But like KP last year, his colleagues appear to consider him an all-round twat.

Watto...does he appeal even when he gets his pecs out?

With England on top, Ashes nostalgia takes us away from the nineties and noughties and back to the eightiess. The talk of Jackson Bird replacing Sir Les Pattinson whose back is more fractured than the sort of roof tiled by his brother, that would send Dom Littlewood incandescent with rage, triggers memories of another 80s icon, Alton Byrd. The diminutive American basketball playmaker was a household name back then. That was in the early days of Channel 4, when they were famous for bringing American sports to our front rooms, along with teenage wank inspiring movies.

As alpha males such as Beefy, Gatt, Mike Hendrick and Goochy were the ladies favourites, along with Kevin “watch out for the baseball bat down a country lane” Keegan and Trevor Brooking, metrosexuals would have been laughed at. A mate of my missus came round the other day while I was watching Bob Willis kiting off the umpires, whilst delivering his Ashes verdict with 'Tall' Tom Moody. She remarked on his now cropped locks and said she remembered him bounding in with his Brian May perm. In those days many of the Aussie batsman including Border and Yallop, preferred the Freddie Mercury look, particularly after his performance at live aid during Gowers glorious summer of 85.

Evel Kneivel...aka Graham Yallop

In those days a row with the missus would be resolved with a box of Terry's All Gold followed by a meal at the Berni Inn consisting of Garlic Bread, Prawn Cocktail and Black Forest Gateaux washed down with a bottle of Le Piat D'or. Then last orders at the pub with the missus enjoying a Pernod and Black whilst you supped a pint of Lowenbrau. 

How times have changed especially the state of the grounds hosting the Ashes clashes, both in location, ground design and how tickets are sold? 

Every decent meal in the 80's would start with one of these!

Durham is on this series roster and Cardiff hosted the first ashes test of the 2009 summer, while the Old Trafford hosting the Test commencing next week, is vastly different to that hosting Beefy’s bearded blitz, wielding his £39 DF attack in the Fifth Test in 1981.As Jimmy Anderson said the Lancastrian cricketing equivalent of the 'Theatre of Dreams' was somewhat in need of a lick of paint. More striking to me are the day four and five attendances. Back in the days of The Two Ronnies and Miss Diane getting a regular portion down at the Crossroads Motel, which in real life is the Sutton Coldfield Ramada, tickets were only sold for the first three days. This meant that as with Headingley in 1981, if an exciting finish ensued, an empty ground would gradually become fuller as school kids and blokes bunking off work early drifted in. At Headingley in 81 this resulted in the famous cries of “go on Bob” increasing in volume as what seemed impossible, became improbable and then reality. 

Meanwhile Benny Hawkins could have knocked off early at Crossroads and popped down to Edgbaston for the evening session, watching Beefy go through the Auld enemy, as another travelling salesman went through Miss Diane!

Benny...a fan of Beefy?

These days the grounds are banged out for all five days of all five tests even at the inflated charged by the dough trousering ECB, making for a riotous atmosphere particularly in afternoon and evening sessions, when some lubrication has been taken on board. 

Interestingly I wonder what the MCC members thought when the cries of Rooooooooooot, rang out on Saturday at HQ? Still at the prices they charge for beer they must have made a killing. Still in a way nothing changes as we still have an Australian opener being relentlessly dismissed in the same fashion innings after innings. Today the aforementioned Watto plants his foot and is caught plum in front, when back in 1985 it was another opener in the shape of Andrew Hilditch doing the honours. While Watson has the standing umpires finger twitching in anticipation, Hilditch had deep fine leg and deep square leg awaiting another steepling, top edged hook shot. 

Happy days.

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